Health and Safety Update

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dear Members of the Appalachian Community,

As the semester draws to a close, I would like to thank each of you for your role in making Appalachian such an extraordinary place. While engaging every day in our academic mission, this community has joined together to celebrate successes and support one another through difficult challenges. I am heartened by the passion I see in our students, faculty and staff to make this university a place of the highest academic standards and, at the same time, a safe and just place for all in the community.

The health and safety of our students remains a top priority at Appalachian; it is critical that our students have a safe and secure environment within which to live and learn. While many resources have been in place to help maintain the safety of our students, I would like to share with you some additional measures we have put in place this semester to provide even greater support. These include:

  • More than 800 faculty and staff have participated in interpersonal violence training;
  • University Police have increased patrols and visibility across campus and participated in a Safety Walk with Student Government Association representatives;
  • Regular email communications from key areas (including the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Student Development, Dean of Students, Counseling Center and Parent and Family Services) have shared important information and connected students with resources;
  • An additional licensed mental health counselor has been hired to work with survivors of interpersonal violence;
  • In-person safety conversations with students have been increased in scope and number in residence halls and academic areas, and these have been attended by Counseling Center and University Housing staff;
  • Appalachian Cares, the website for matters of student health and safety, continues to be regularly updated with messages for students and parents, and prominently features campus, local and national resources and crisis lines;
  • Increased digital messages in Plemmons Student Union, Belk Library and Information Commons, and Peacock Hall are providing information about health and safety, including several new communication pieces referencing the Code of Student Conduct and the maximum outcome for students accused of sexual misconduct;
  • The Appalachian Connections newsletter continues to provide resources to parents and families of students;
  • The Student Government Association has hosted discussion forums and created a new position, Director of Campus Health and Safety, which has joined the Interpersonal Violence Council, a group that has been actively working to improve matters related to interpersonal violence on our campus since 2012;
  • Increased training sessions have been offered to educate students, faculty and staff on interpersonal violence prevention, self defense and suicide prevention;
  • Suicide and interpersonal violence prevention information, including crisis hotlines, has been prominently placed in the student newspaper, and posted in key locations on every floor of every residence hall;
  • Increased Counseling Center support for students includes expanded walk-in hours and additional counselors for faster access to services.

The end of the semester brings the joys of new accomplishments, but achieving these can be stressful. Take time to take care of yourself. Reach out if you need some help, and be there for those who might need you. This Appalachian community is full of friends, colleagues, faculty and staff who are here to support you. As part of this community, you never need to be alone when dealing with difficult challenges. In addition to campus resources, local and national hotlines are also ready to listen and help. You can find these resources on the Appalachian Cares website.

As I begin my sixth month at Appalachian, I would like to thank the campus for welcoming me, and allowing me to listen and learn. I wish for you all a successful end to this semester, a safe and relaxing break, and a new year filled with promise.


/s/ Sheri N. Everts

Sheri N. Everts